St. Louis, Mo., March 4, 2014 – Senior forward Chris Klimek earned 2014 University Athletic Association (UAA) Player of the Year accolades to highlight five Washington University in St. Louis student-athletes named to the all-UAA Men's Basketball Team, as announced by the league office. Klimek is the 10th player in school history to be named UAA Player of the Year.
In addition, senior guard Tim Cooney was recognized as the UAA Defensive Player of the Year, while head coach Mark Edwards and assistant coaches Caleb Lawson, Aaron Thompson and William Carey were selected as the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year after guiding the Bears to their third-straight conference title. This marks the seventh time in Edwards' career that he and his staff have received the honor.
Cooney and Klimek were joined on the seven-person all-UAA first team by senior guard Alan Aboona and junior forward Matt Palucki. This marks the first time in school history that Washington U. has received four first-team all-UAA honorees. In addition, junior Nick Burt picked up honorable-mention all-UAA honors for the second-straight season.
"I am pleased that our guys were all recognized for their great conference run and the individual contributions that they have made. Each one of them had a number of big games throughout the year and showed why they are deserving of all-conference honors," said Edwards. "It is gratifying to see Chris Klimek singled out as the conference player of the year when there were so many great players across the conference. It also shows you the high regard the coaches have for Tim Cooney and the intense, focused defense he played all season. Being named Defensive Player of the Year is a tribute to how much he has meant to this special team."
Klimek leads the team and is fourth in the UAA averaging 16.7 points per game. He also leads the conference in field-goal percentage (.621) and ranks third in rebounding (6.9) and sixth in blocked shots (0.8). Klimek scored 23 points against Rochester Feb. 7 to become the 21st player in school history to join the 1,000-point club. A three-time all-UAA honoree, he has started 72 of 73 games in his career and ranks 20th in school history with 1,098 points. Klimek also ranks third in field-goal percentage (.580).
Aboona, a two-time first-team all-UAA selection, started 25 games at point guard for the Bears averaging 16.6 points and led the team in three-pointers made (66) and assists (138). He scored in double figures in 22 games, and became the 22nd player in school history to join the 1,000-point club with 25 points in the season-finale at Chicago March 1. Aboona ranked third in the UAA in assists (5.5), fourth in three-pointers made (2.6), fifth in scoring (16.6), sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7) and ninth in free-throw percentage (.794). He has appeared in 103 career games and is fifth in school history in threes (167) and assists (419).
Cooney, a two-time all-UAA honoree, started all 25 games at two guard averaging 11.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, and led the team in steals (45). He was second in the conference in steals per game (1.8) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2), and was seventh in assists (3.6). Cooney has scored in double figures 30 times in his career, including a career-high 27 points at No. 5 Illinois Wesleyan Dec. 7. He has appeared in 101 career games and ranks eighth in school history with 141 steals.
Palucki started all 25 games at shooting forward for Washington U., averaging 15.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He scored in double figures 18 times, including a career-high 32 points vs. Webster (Jan. 4) and at Brandeis (Feb. 14). Palucki pulled down six or more rebounds in 18 games, and was fourth in the league in rebounding (6.9). He also ranked second in the UAA in free-throw percentage (.879), seventh in field-goal percentage (.518) and three-pointers made (2.2) and ninth in scoring (15.1).
Burt made 25 starts at forward for the Bears and averaged 7.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. A two-time honorable-mention all-UAA selection, he scored in double figures in 15 games. Burt scored a career-high 15 points vs. Case Western Reserve Feb. 21, and followed that up with his first career double-double (15 points, 13 rebounds) against Carnegie Mellon Feb. 23. He was fourth in the conference in offensive rebounds (2.3) and 11th in rebounding (5.7).
Washington U. enters the NCAA Tournament riding an 18-game winning streak and has a 23-2 overall record. The Bears captured the program's third-straight and 13th overall UAA championship with a 14-0 record against conference foes. Washington U. is the fourth team in UAA history to go undefeated in league play.
The Bears are hosting NCAA Division III First and Second Round play Friday-Saturday, March 7-8, at the WU Field House. No. 2-ranked Washington U. takes on Wilmington College (Ohio) in the first round Friday at 8 p.m.